Earlier today, Conor McGregor shared some highlights from the Dustin Poirier rematch (all of the clips where he looked good) on Instagram, along with some thoughts on the fight itself....
"I enjoyed racking up some more time inside the famed UFC Octagon. 40 seconds in 3 years is all I’d had up to this bout. I was savoring every second and enjoying my work. A little single disciplined in my approach and stance with mostly boxing. It’s what I get for picking this bout and opponent as a precursor to a boxing match against Pacman. I deserved to get the legs kicked off me going in with this thinking. This is not the game to play around with. Besides this tho my shots where sharp and I was in full control. Albeit the leg attacks where building up on me throughout the course. 18 in total thrown at me, with the final one buckling my leg fully, that was that. The peroneal nerve compromised.
Fascinating! First time to experience it. Then a tremendous finishing flurry by my opponent. Hats off! A well fought fight by The Diamond. 1 a piece now with a Trilogy bout for all the marbles! Wow! Exciting! Not a trilogy I was expecting, nor the tactical affair I was anticipating, but I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t meant to be. This is exactly how this was always meant to be! Buzzing!!"
That's an incredibly respectable, and accurate account of what went down at UFC 257, in my opinion - he basically admits his stance was a little too boxing-oriented/heavy-footed (possibly due to having one foot in the squared circle mentally), which allowed those vicious leg kicks by Poirier to land over and over again, to the point they fully deadened McGregor's peroneal nerve and led to his downfall in the second round.
Attacking that nerve via calf kicks is sort've a new-age "cheat code" in mixed martial arts that we're seeing pop up more and more across the whole landscape, and it's been wildly successful in use despite fans not always loving it. I actually saw Michael Chandler get his peroneal deadened in a fight against Brent Primus at the first MMA card I ever covered for Barstool in 2017, and more recently saw Chito Vera kill Sean O'Malley's in-person this Summer too - it's a brutal injury!
It ain't the worst long-term, but mothafuckas legs just stop working mid-fight and they basically have to fall down and accept defeat.
McGregor doesn't seem that bummed out about his performance as a whole, though - and he shouldn't be. He was fighting a pretty damn good fight until that leg died and the tide turned! I thought he had shown some great grappling on his way to getting up after being taken down in the first, worked well in the clinch, delivered tons of those snapping signature shoulder strikes, and rocked Poirier so badly that 'The Diamond' said himself in his post-fight presser that he coulda been finished if Conor realized how wobbled he was.
If Khabib is really retired for good, I think that makes Dustin Poirier the unquestionable best active 155lb fighter in the world - which makes Conor McGregor the guy who just went toe-to-toe with him (and almost KO'd him) after spending 40 seconds outta the previous three years inside the octagon. Not bad for a guy "out of his prime" who a lotta folk are counting out completely.
I think this trilogy is happening this year, and I think it's an extremely winnable fight for Conor McGregor, which could very possibly put a UFC Championship back around his waist. We'll see.